Mothers, Mutilators and Mosques: Protecting Young Girls from FGM

By Elizabeth Yore | September 22, 2017 | 10:40am EDT
Dr. Jumana Nagarwala (WXYZ Screenshot)

Federal prosecutors in Detroit recently unsealed a second superseding criminal indictment in the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim sect female genital mutilation case indicting the mothers of two 7-year-old victims with two counts each of conspiracy and female genital mutilation (FGM).

Without the full participation and consent of their mothers, these little girls would never have been subjected to the barbaric abuse of FGM. The government correctly indicted these mothers to send a strong deterrent to any mothers contemplating FGM here in the U.S. or traveling overseas. FGM is child abuse.

News flash—parents will be criminally charged for child abuse in America. There is no parental free pass for child abuse. These mothers of this Shia sect allegedly trafficked their little girls across state lines and conspired with a mutilator to ensure the permanent disfiguring of their daughters’ genitalia. The lifetime of horrifying physical and psychological suffering they have thus inflicted is truly criminal.

The experiences of the two 7-year-old girls at the center of the case are instructive, as well as appalling. One said she was taken to a Detroit hotel for a “special” girls’ trip, then went to a doctor’s office because their “tummies hurt.” She recounted that a procedure to “get the germs out” was performed on an examination table, that she was given a pad to wear in her underwear afterward and was told not to talk about the procedure. A second girl recounted that she was given a shot in her upper thigh that hurt so badly she screamed. She drew a picture of the room and indicated blood on the exam table, adding that she could barely walk after the procedure.

Thus far in this case, six child victims have been identified, and the total number of defendants has grown to eight. The worst is yet to be revealed, however, as there reportedly are estimates of up to 100 little girls who have been mutilated by the FGM doctor Jumana Nagarwala, who is herself a member of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim Shia sect, which mandates female genital mutilation and has 22 mosques in the United States. Regrettably, Dr. Nagarwala was recently granted release by a federal judge, provided she made an unprecedented $4.5 million bond, which her wealthy supporters were glad to do. The judge did rule that Nagarwala must live under home detention with a GPS tracking device.

Defense lawyers are already arguing that FGM is a religious practice among the Dawoodis, and therefore protected by the First Amendment. They say the Dawoodi believe that if they do not engage in this (FGM) then they are not actively practicing their religion. They also assert that the doctor didn’t “cut” the girls, but merely nicked them. We are likely to see more such dissembling, deflections and rationalizations as the trial gets underway.

Why in the world is this archaic and primitive barbaric practice occurring in the United States in 2017?

The bloody brutality of FGM is a relatively new phenomenon in the United States, imported by the massive infusion of the Muslim refugee population. For example, in the past 10 years, more than 100,000 Somalis have entered the U.S. under the refugee resettlement policy. For centuries, female genital mutilation has been inflicted on 98 percent of all Somali girls.

The best-selling author and human rights activist, Somali expatriate Aayan Hirsi Ali, writes in her autobiography Infidel, “In Somalia, every girl is mutilated and the practice is always justified in the name of Islam.” The hideous purpose of FGM is highlighted by Hirsi Ali when she says “suppressing the sexuality of women is a big theme with Imams.”

What roles do the Imams and mosques play in orchestrating this FGM barbarism here? Do they connect and coordinate the mutilator with the mothers? Do they pay for the expenses associated with FGM? Do they insist and ensure that little girls are mutilated?

If the religion teaches the importance of “purifying girls” by mutilating their genitals, then the Imams are the driving ideological force behind FGM. The Michigan case may further expose the role that the Imams and mosques play in perpetuating this horrendous “religious practice.”

In open court, government attorneys argued that obstructive activity had occurred at the mosque and could likely happen again if the defendants were free to attend. Accordingly, the government argued that the Mosque obstruction was intended to derail and hinder the government FGM investigation of Dr. Nagarwala and others. How troubling! When our federal government attempts to enforce and investigate federal criminal FGM laws, do the mosques forcefully and maliciously undermine the rule of law?

This raises serious questions about the prospect that Dr. Nagarwala will once again try to leave the country. After all, federal agents arrested her as she was preparing to board a flight from Detroit International Airport to Kenya, just prior to the indictment.

What is already clear, though, is that the United States is tragically importing the practice of FGM to our shores and communities. This horrendous and insidious child abuse and sex assault is unimaginable to the Western world and shocks our sensibilities. The mosques, the mothers and the mutilators plot in secrecy through underground networks to inflict this brutal and merciless bloody assault on unsuspecting little girls.

The mutilators, their conspirators, their aiders and abettors, and the mothers must be held accountable. If you live here, you must abide by the law.

Elizabeth Yore is an international child rights advocate and head of the initiative


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